Friday, January 20, 2017

Review (+Tour Giveaway): Summer on Sunset Ridge




Summer on Sunset Ridge
By Sharlene MacLaren
Forever Freedom #1
Whitaker House, 2017


Summary

Brought up on a Quaker farm near Philadelphia at the brink of the Civil War, plainspoken Rebecca Albright is charitable, peace-loving, submissive—and a feisty abolitionist. Determined to aid the Underground Railroad no matter what the cost, her path collides with that of formidable slave-catcher Clay Dalton. When Rebecca is assigned to nurse Clay back to health following a near-fatal gunshot wound, her uneasiness around him and the questions surrounding his mysterious past complicate their strained but developing relationship.

Sherriff Clay Dalton is grimly fighting several battles of his own as he stays on at the Albright farm to work off his debt to the family that has saved his life and taken him in. He is torn between his past commitments in the South and his unlikely present among this quiet Quaker community in the North. Almost against his will, he begins to ponder the impossible idea of a future with Rebecca.…

When tensions between North and South escalate, Rebecca and Clay find themselves propelled on a journey to discover just who God has called them to be, and they soon realize that each holds a key to the other’s answer.

Click here to purchase your copy.


My thoughts

Summer on Sunset Ridge begins a promising new series entitled Forever Freedom, set during the years just prior to the Civil War. Sharlene MacLaren crafts a spirited narrative filled with interesting historical detail and strong spiritual themes that add richness to the story.

Rebecca Albright is an engaging character and I especially enjoyed her family, which included many siblings. Rebecca is kind, compassionate, and has a burning desire to help with the Underground railroad, which forms a backdrop for the story. The initial meeting between Rebecca and Clay, a sheriff searching for a run-away slave, doesn’t bode well for their future – and this makes for great storytelling. The chemistry between these two is great.

The historical detail about the Quaker faith and the Underground railroad was an integral part of the story, pulling me right into the setting – although the Underground railroad didn’t play as big a part as I had expected. I thought spiritual themes were relevant for us today, such as when man’s laws and God’s laws conflict with each other. And I loved how Clay’s temporary memory loss provided the foundation for him to make life decisions that he might not have made otherwise.

I enjoyed Summer on Sunset Ridge and look forward to future books in the series.

Recommended.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

_________________________


Sharlene MacLaren Born and raised in western Michigan, award-winning, bestselling author Sharlene MacLaren attended Spring Arbor University. After graduating, she traveled with a nationally touring Christian vocal ensemble, returning home to Spring Arbor to marry her husband, Cecil, whom she’d known since childhood. Together they raised two daughters. Now happily retired after teaching elementary school for 31 years, “Shar” enjoys reading, singing in the church choir and worship teams, traveling, and spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren.

Her novels include the contemporary romances Through Every Storm, Long Journey Home, and Tender Vow; the beloved Little Hickman Creek series (Loving Liza Jane, Sarah, My Beloved, Courting Emma, and Christmas Comes to Little Hickman Creek, a novella), and three historic romance trilogies: The Daughters of Jacob Kane (Hannah Grace, Maggie Rose, andAbbie Ann); River of Hope (Livvie’s Song, Ellie’s Haven, and Sofia’s Secret); Tennessee Dreams: Heart of Mercy, Threads of Joy, and Gift of Grace.


GIVEAWAY




Monday, January 16, 2017

Spotlight (+ Tour Giveaway) - Covering Love by Caryl McAdoo



 
Click here to purchase your copy.


About the Book

Book: Covering Love  

Author: Caryl McAdoo  

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: January 26, 2017  

Love may cover a multitude of sins, but not knowing all the facts can also get a man killed.

A family calamity gathers the clan, then a dying request tests loyalties and changes lives. New York City’s posh society, living on a rugged Texas hill country ranch, and the isolation of Alaska’s frozen tundra share little commonality and make going from one to another difficult at best. Still, destiny drives Crockett and his sister Charlotte where neither wants to go or thinks they belong. Second and third generations of the Buckmeyer progeny encounter danger, challenges, heartaches, and joys. But then reunions are all the sweeter for it.

This tale continues the breathtaking—and sometimes heartbreaking—family saga of the Buckmeyers, Baylors, and Nightingales that readers around the world have come to love.


About the Author

Caryl McAdoo loves writing stories for all ages that glorify God, thrilled that Christian fiction fits her life purpose so well. Bold not bashful, she’s quick to share the Bible principles she lives by through her characters. She hopes each title ministers His love, mercy, and grace. 

Known as the “Singing Pray-er”—with a YouTube channel to prove it, the prolific hybrid author also loves praising with new songs the Lord gives her. She and high-school-sweetheart-husband Ron moved from the DFW area—home for fifty-plus years—to the woods and seat of Red River County. After him, Caryl counts four children and sixteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings. The McAdoos live a few miles south of Clarksville in the far northeast corner of the Lone Star State with two grandsons.



Guest Post from Caryl McAdoo

Book eight of the TEXAS ROMANCE Family Saga proved difficult to write in the beginning. At my bi-monthly Red River Writers’ Workshop where I read a chapter each meeting, I couldn’t get through one without weeping. This family’s story began in 1832 (book one, Vow Unbroken)—a true-love tale when Henry, a thirty-two year old bachelor living in his mama’s house, and Sue, a twenty-nine year old widow rearing two children find each other.

Fifty years have passed—it’s now 1885—and scripture says it is appointed for every man to die once. Henry is my Ron (my beloved husband), so I could barely get through his demise for his wife’s sake. I’m not giving a lot away. Readers find this out in chapter one of Covering Love. But in a family saga such as this series, characters must pass over into Heaven.

So who’s book is Covering Love? It actually has four love stories! One is sweet budding love, another is Houston’s romance set back in the 1860s, the third is Crockett’s and takes place in Alaska, and the fourth is Charlotte’s. She falls in love in New York City . . . my cover lady who is practically forced to go there and live in May’s brownstone. Well, her older brother wasn’t that happy about going to the frozen tundra of the far North, either.

Henry’s first five children didn’t have the ‘soft’ lives that May’s two offspring experienced. After I made it through the hard beginning, writing Crockett’s and Charlotte’s love stories was great fun! And of course, the old man who’s made appearances in the majority of my novels has his part to play in Covering Love.

Have my readers recognized him? If they’ve not made the connection in prior stories, they will definitely be enlightened in this one. Namrel is his real name, and he’s a delightful cherub who oft visits earth as an angel unaware. He’s also in A Little Lower Than the Angels, volume one in my Biblical Fiction series The Generations, and The King’s Highway, book one in my mid-grade/young adult Days of Dread trilogy.

I truly love how God has given me these multi-genre series and woven common threads through them . . . like the hero and heroine in my second Red River Romance Sing A New Song, have a conversation over the gravestone of the famous Texas Ranger, Levi Baylor, Samuel Levi Baylor’s ancestor. And in the soon coming book four in that contemporary series, The Pitch, readers will meet more descendants of these awesome families God has helped to create.

My slogan is ‘Praying my story gives God glory!’ And that’s what I want every single one to do. My characters are not perfect. They all have flaws and make some poor choices. But it’s in those times of our own lives that God shows up and shows out. Oh how wonderful, how marvelous is our Savior’s love!


Book Excerpt

Crockett tapped on the door. How many times over the years had he knocked on the same one? Better question, how many girls and ladies had called it their own?

“Go away.”

He knuckled it harder. “Come on, Sis. It’s me. Open up.”

She cracked the portal. “Crockett, what are you doing up here?”

“I need a favor.”

“Too bad. The answer is no.” She rubbed her eyes. “I am not lending you any more money, so go back to bed!”

“Let me in.”

The force of the door swung wide and moved her back. “Fine, Brother. Come on in.” She exhaled audibly. “Why can’t we discuss this tomorrow? Why do you always…grrrr…you see, Mother! He’s incorrigible!”

Ma sat on the bed. He smiled. “Sorry, didn’t know I was interrupting you ladies, but if you don’t mind, I need a word in private with Charlotte.”

“If you can’t say whatever it is in front of her, then you don’t need to be saying it at all. Just get out of here. You cannot come into my room and chase Mother out!”

“Fine, if you insist. I need you to go to New York.”

“What for?”

“It’s like this. My partner is a whiz at sniffing out great deals, but he needs someone to keep a firm grip on him. He wants to gallop when he should trot, if you get my drift. If I’m expected to gallivant all over the Northwest, I need someone I can trust in New York, watching over things. You’re it.”

“Son. You’re wanting your sister to take over your business while you’re gone? That’s asking too much.”


Blog Stops

January 17: A Reader’s Brain
January 17: The Power of Words (Spotlight)
January 19: Karen Sue Hadley
January 21: A Greater Yes
January 24: New Horizon
January 25: Giveaway Lady
January 26: Pause for Tales
January 28: Bigreadersite
January 30: Neverending Stories


Giveaway




Saturday, January 14, 2017

Review (+ Tour Giveaway): Telling Tails




Telling Tails
By Sophie Ryan
Second Chance Cat Mystery #4
Berkley, 2017


Summary

The New York Times bestselling author of A Whisker of Trouble  returns as secondhand shop owner Sarah Grayson and her rescue cat, Elvis, get caught up in a case of she said, she said….

When Sarah Grayson opened a secondhand shop in the quaint town of North Harbor, Maine, she was expecting peace and quiet. Then she was adopted by a rescue cat named Elvis and a kooky trio of senior sleuths known as Charlotte’s Angels. Now she has nine lives worth of excitement…

Sarah’s friend and employee Rose is delivering a customer’s purchase when the quick errand becomes a deadly escapade. Rose arrives just in time to see the customer murdered by his wife, but before she can call the police, she is knocked out cold. When she wakes up, no one believes her, especially after the woman claims her husband is very much alive and has left her for someone else—and has a text message and empty bank account to prove it.

Despite her convincing story, Sarah is sure something is fishy—and it’s not Elvis’s kitty treats. Sarah, Elvis, and the Angels are determined to unravel this mysterious yarn, before the feral killer pounces again…


My thoughts

I’ve found another cozy mystery series to love – the Second Chance Cat Mysteries by Sophie Ryan. Telling Tails is well written with lots of humor, witty dialogue, and three older sleuths who are pure delight.

Telling Tails has the feel of a more traditional type of cozy mystery that I love. The setting is North Harbor, a small town on the midcoast of Maine, full of beautiful old buildings and eclectic businesses – and it was this setting that initially drew me to the story. Sarah might be the main character, but there’s also a strong ensemble cast feel that includes the three senior sleuths – Rose, Liz, and Charlotte. The characters are likeable, intelligent, caring, and just plain fun. One example of their humor is when Liz was talking about drinking Avery’s healthy smoothies:  “I can’t believe the good Lord intends for me to drink what is essentially a weed for breakfast, not when he created sausage.”

And who needs a lie detector when you’ve got Elvis the cat?! The mystery is well plotted and I enjoyed detecting right along with Sarah and the Angels. Reading the series in order would help to know the characters better, but Telling Tails works fine as a standalone also. I hope there will be several more Sarah and Elvis tales to enjoy.

Recommended.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

_________________________



Sofie Ryan/Sofie Kelly is the pseudonym of author and mixed-media artist, Darlene Ryan.

Sofie/Darlene lives on the east coast with her husband and daughter. In her spare time, she practices Wu style tai chi and likes to prowl around thrift stores. And she admits to having a small crush on Matt Lauer.

Webpage

Purchase Links:

Amazon.ca Amazon Barnes&Noble
Books•A•Million Chapters IndieBound


GIVEAWAY




Friday, January 13, 2017

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Dead Cold Brew




Dead Cold Brew
By Cleo Coyle
A Coffeehouse Mystery #16
Berkley, 2017


Summary

The perfect proposal leads to a chilling cold case…

Coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi sheds tears of joy when her NYPD detective boyfriend surprises her with an engagement ring. But her bridal bliss is put on hold when a chilling mystery brings a wave of deadly danger to those she holds dear…

After everything Clare and Mike have been through, they deserve a little bit of happily ever after. So when Mike decides to put a ring on Clare’s finger, Clare’s eccentric octogenarian employer is there to help. She donates the perfect coffee-colored diamonds to include in the setting and the name of a world-famous jeweler who happens to be an old family friend. But while the engagement is steeped in perfection, the celebration is not long lived.

First, a grim-faced attorney interrupts their party with a mysterious letter bequeathing a strange, hidden treasure to Clare’s daughter. Next, the renowned jeweler who designed Clare’s ring is found poisoned in his shop. Both events appear to be connected to a cold case murder involving a sunken ship, an Italian curse, a suspiciously charming jewel thief, and a shocking family secret. With deadly trouble brewing, Clare must track down clues in some of New York’s most secret places before an old vendetta starts producing fresh corpses.

With recipes to die for, including how to make cold-brew coffee at home!



My thoughts

Dead Cold Brew, #16 in Cleo Coyle’s popular coffeehouse mysteries, is my introduction to this series – and I enjoyed this story very much. This is not your typical cozy mystery because there’s a lot going on, and that’s what sets it apart. The writing is tight and moves at a fast clip. Atmosphere, suspense, romance, and character depth combine to deliver an entertaining tale that hooked me from the first page.

It was easy to connect with the intelligent and caring Clare Cosi, who manages the Greenwich Village coffeehouse, Village Blend – as well as Mike, her police detective romantic interest. I’m sure there has been a lot of character development throughout the series, but I had no problem jumping right in. The plot of this story has Clare spending a good bit of time with her business partner and ex-husband, Matt – definitely a flawed character, but appealing nonetheless. I liked how they remained friends and that he had respect for Clare’s fiancĂ©, Mike.

Dead Cold Brew is rich in atmosphere, making it easy to feel the essence of Greenwich Village and NYC. Descriptions of places like the 21 Club added depth to the story. I love a good cup of coffee, but don’t know much about gourmet things like coffee roasting and blends, so I found the coffee-related detail intriguing. It was interesting to learn how “cold brew coffee” is made, and readers will enjoy all the recipes included at the end.

The suspense and action sometimes made this story feel more like a traditional mystery, but it made for great pacing. Multiple storylines – Eye of the Cat diamond, attacks on police officers, family secrets – all seem to revolve around events connected to the 1956 sinking of the Italian ocean liner, the Andrea Doria. I appreciate how Cleo Coyle made me want to learn more about this maritime disaster.

Clare’s values resonated with me, reflected in her thoughts that true treasure “lived in the people around me, who’d become my family, the work that gave me pride, and the daughter who gave me joy.”

Recommended.

Note:  This is a general market novel. It’s obvious that Clare and Mike are intimate, but nothing graphic is portrayed.

I was provided a free copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

_________________________



Cleo Coyle is the pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini.

Cleo Coyle grew up in a small town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After earning scholarships to study writing at Carnegie Mellon and American Universities, she began her career as a cub reporter for The New York Times. Now an author of popular fiction and New York Times bestselling media tie-in writer, Cleo lives and works in New York City, where she collaborates with her husband (also a bestselling author) to pen the Coffeehouse Mysteries for Penguin. Together Cleo and her husband also write the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries under the name Alice Kimberly.

When not haunting coffeehouses, hunting ghosts, or rescuing stray cats, Cleo and Marc are bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for NBC, Lucasfilm, Disney, Fox, Imagine, and MGM. In their spare time, they cook like crazy and drink a lot of java. You can learn more about Cleo, her husband, and the books they write by visiting www.CoffeehouseMystery.com.

WebsiteFacebookTwitter

Purchase Links:
AmazonB&NIndieBound


GIVEAWAY

A Grand Prize package including a copy of Dead Cold Brew, $25 Amazon gift card, tote bag, and recipe cards. To enter the drawing, please click on this link and share my Facebook post, then leave a comment here.






Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Amy Clipston’s AMISH QUILT GIVEAWAY




Would you like to win the quilt featured on the cover of The Cherished Quilt? If so, then here’s how—Take a photo of yourself or someone else reading Amy’s book, The Cherished Quilt, in unusual places – such as doing laundry, working on a car, hanging upside down, sewing, etc. Here are a couple of examples . . .






Amy will pick ONE WINNER to receive the quilt. Three first-place winners will receive a signed Amish Heirloom Series potholder, along with a signed copy of The Cherished Quilt!

So use your imagination and start taking pictures! Photos must be posted in the comments of Amy’s Facebook post at . . .
https://www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks/posts/10154084847975824




Giveaway ends on Monday, January 23. The winners will be announced on Tuesday, January 24.

Be sure to post entry photo in the comments section here . . .
https://www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks/posts/10154084847975824